August was a busy month for FoBL often behind the scenes. With holidays in full swing, this was an opportunity for FoBL to sponsor a number of holiday activities for children and young people ensuring that our library was not forgotten during the fine summer weather.

Flotsam & Jetsam Project

Whilst great progress was made in producing the first throw, sadly it is to be the last in this project. Despite several volunteers being inspired by Marion Wood’s idea the project has been put on hold for the present. However, the good news is that the finished item will be made available in the near future – possibly through holding a special raffle or auction at one of our Autumn Friday coffee mornings. On behalf of all FOBL members our thanks go to Marion and her eight crafters for all they have achieved.

Loyalty Card Scheme

Many of you will know that the owners of Bertie & Crew, Nicola & Charlie have finally sold their business, keys changing hands last week. We wish them both the very best for the future. The new owners Leanne & Tim Jones allowed themselves a mere morning to effect some minor changes before opening again. So, it’s business as usual and I’m pleased to confirm that the shop will continue to be part of our loyalty card scheme offering a 10% discount to current FoBL members.

Leanne Jones, the new owner of Bertie & Crew

We also welcome the Chloe Pavely at the Fishcombe Cove Café to the scheme. Chloe took over the business only weeks ago and has great ideas which she hopes to roll out over the coming months. So, whether you are taking a stroll through Battery Gardens or walking the Coastal Path, be sure to stop by for a cuppa and perhaps a snack as the view from the café terrace is just delightful. Chloe will make you feel very welcome and is keen to offer all FoBL members 10% off if you spend £5.00 and over.


 Chloe Pavely, new owner of the Fishcombe Cove Cafe


Reminder- Reminder- Reminder- Reminder- Reminder- Reminder- Reminder- Reminder

This is a reminder to all members that those retail outlets participating in the loyalty card scheme do this on a voluntary basis and the concessionary offer to members is their kind offer. Such offers are only available to FoBL members with a current membership card and these must be produced at the time of any purchase to avoid any embarrassment or misunderstandings. Your help in doing this would be much appreciated.

St Marys Churchyard; Cow Town Project 1850 – 1900



In the heart of Higher Brixham lies St Mary’s Church, a site that has overlooked both ‘Cow Town’ & latterly ‘Fish Town’ for hundreds of years. Over the last 18 months a group of people have been regularly meeting in the church yard to record all the names on the gravestones to once again have, as near as is possible a complete record of those who lie there. The original records were lost in the Exeter Blitz and although over the years some of the work has been accomplished, nothing to date has been done on this scale before. In this oasis of quiet, just yards away from the hustle and bustle of St Mary’s Square, it is so easy to reflect on the lives of those who are buried there. For over the years, history reveals itself behind those names, many of them so familiar and still heard today within the town. As a result of the project a new Commonwealth War Graves sign can be found in the main entrance to the churchyard signposting those who should never be forgotten. I have to confess that like many a visitor I had no idea that there were some war graves in the church yard, one dating back to 1919 and the remaining eight graves from WW2.

If you have an interest in the above lottery funded project ‘St Mary’s Church Yard – Cow Town 1850-1900’, please contact the project co-ordinator Phil Trayhorn tel: 01803 752239. Help is now required to verify and confirm the details on the records that have already been compiled. If you have any knowledge or information about family or people buried there that can be added to the information already collated, you will be welcome with open arms. Alternatively, why not go along on a Wednesday or a Saturday morning and make yourself known.

The project is also putting on an exhibition ‘Cow Town Victorian Higher Brixham’, to be found on the Ledge in the library from Friday  25 August to Friday 28 September.

 Illustration by the later Peter Archer


A Stitch in Time

Busy hands have been very active as they applied themselves to a project inspired by Laura Scott from ‘The Sewing Room’ to produce a splendid banner .

Coffee Morning

Just a reminder that our next ‘First Friday of the Month Coffee Mornings’ is on Friday 7 September between 10-00 – 12.00 noon. We have been really pleased with all the support you have shown, and this really is an opportunity to meet with friends, make new ones and or enjoy a cuppa with perhaps a slice of cake too. At the next coffee morning there will also be a sale of prints which could make ideal small gifts or presents with the festive period looming in the distance.

At the last coffee morning we were giving away jars for small change. We know that many of you already collect for other charities and good causes in this way but every little helps, and it is such an easy way to find a home for unwanted small change. Therefore, if you would like one, do ask at the coffee morning. If your jar is already full – bring it back and we shall be delighted to empty it for you!

Events in September


September brings with a number of events and activities which we hope will inspire you to book a place as follows:

  • Osprey Watch with Mike Langman on Friday 7 September, 10.00am – 12.30pm – meet by the car park at Powderham Church (£8.00 to FoBL members & £10.00 to non-FoBL members)
  • History of Acupuncture with Michael Johnson on Thursday 13 September at 10.00am in Brixham Library. (£5.00 to FoBL members & £8.00 to non-FoBL members)
  • Victorian Vignette of Cockington with John Risdon on Wednesday 19 September at 14.00pm in Brixham Library. (£5.00 to FoBL members & £8.00 to non-FoBL members)
  • Skittles at ‘The Skipper’ on Friday 21 September at 19.00pm. (£6.00 to FoBL members & £8.00 to non-FoBL members)

For further details for any of the above or to book a place please visit Brixham Library or tel: 01803 853870.

And Finally,….

As we look towards the coming of autumn, this is also the time when we start thinking about our events programme for next year. If you have any ideas of any activities or events that you have enjoyed in the past either with either FoBL or with other organisations and would like to see in our programme do let us have as much information as you can so that we can consider them for inclusion. All ideas should be handed into the library FAO, Alasdair Anderson (Events Programme Ideas 2019) and we will do our best to see how they can be incorporated.

We are also looking into the possibility of holding evening events in the library, something we have wanted to do for a long time but felt unable to do because of the cost of paying for a member of staff to be in the building. With the permission of ‘Libraries Unlimited’ this may not now be necessary and could enable many new opportunities to be created.

Secondly, if you would like to contribute to our newsletter, any contributions would be much appreciated as it would be even better if it reflected the news and views of the wider membership.

Finally, we are always looking for fund raising ideas. With everyone doing just this, if you know of a good idea that would help FoBL and even better if you would like to try an idea out for us do let us know.

Alasdair Anderson – Chairman, The Friends of Brixham Library

4 September 2018

Sewing Torbay Together – the August Embroidery Project

Are you 50 or over? Come and join us FREE Sewing Banner Sessions Every Monday in August.

There will be free creative embroidery sessions running in Brixham, Churston and Paignton libraries during August only, as this is a short term project.

A warm welcome awaits & an inspiring morning where you will connect, make friends and do some mindful sewing with our Sew Fab Community Banner project in Brixham Library. No experience required.

Contact Laura Scott 07875384744 Email :

Sponsors of the sessions include the Design Council, Transforming Ageing, UnLtd, the Big Lottery Fund and Torbay Community Development Trust.

The organiser, Laura Scott from The Sewing Rooms, is providing help and instruction for the community to come together and create this project whilst making friends with others.

The finished panels will be joined together for exhibition in Paignton library before being separated to be exhibited in Brixham, Paignton and Torquay locations.

Mondays – 10.00 am – 12pm in Brixham Library


July Round Up from the Chairman

This month has been a busy one of FoBL with three events taking place. The first was a walk with Mike Langman on Ideford Common to see nightjars and glow worms. As always with Mikes walks, those who went enjoyed his incredible capacity for hearing the many different birds to be found in such special localities and a good time was had by all, despite the absence of the glow worms. If you have never tried one of these walks before they are to be recommended and you will be made most welcome.

Our annual trip on the Brixham Trawler ‘The Vigilance’ was once again enjoyed by those who went. We become so used to seeing the several heritage vessels moored down on the heritage pontoon that it is so easy to forget how lucky we are to have more than one survivor to remind us of our fishing heritage.






Our AGM was held on 17 July, with over 30 members being in attendance. Minutes of this meeting along with reports from the Chairman and Treasurer are available on request from our new Secretary Eunice Dodd who has stepped down as our Treasurer. After a very successful meeting, the evening continued with a talk on his adventure to Mull by local Historian John Risdon. Accompanied by some wonderful photos from his visit we were all transported to that far off place and the very different world that he visited, described so vividly by John. Our thanks once again for his continued support for FoBL and all that he does for us.

While FoBL takes a break from its activities and events over the August recess, things are still happening which may be of interest.

Once again, all libraries Torbay & Devon are participating in this year’s summer reading challenge. Along with several FREE special library events in Brixham Library, this is an opportunity for your children and grandchildren to really get involved. Children can read whatever 6 books they like – just as long as they have been borrowed from the library and receive special regards each time they finish a book. On completion of the challenge they will receive a certificate which will be presented in school by library staff. Once again FoBL has donated prizes and the winning names will be drawn in September.

Can you identify who these unruly people are with Mr Cosmo at the recent launch of ‘Mischief Makers’?






Our next First Friday of the month coffee morning takes place on Friday 3 August between 10.00am and 12.00 noon. These are proving to be very successful and a great way to meet up with friends; enjoy coffee and cake and visit the library too. All are welcome so do drop by and put this date in your diary.











Finally, with the success of our health walks on a Monday morning and a Tuesday afternoon we hope to start some Dementia Friendly Walks once a fortnight on a Friday morning, starting at 10.30am on Friday 3 August for a stroll around the harbour and finishing at the Brixham Steam Packet’ ‘Chart Room Café’ should anyone like to takerefreshment there. It is hope that anyone is suffering with early stages of dementia will enjoy coming along with their carers to enjoy a walk on the flat with stopping points along the way if required.

For further information about children’s activities during August, FoBL events coming up in the autumn or details about the coffee morning please ask in the library or phone 01803 853870. For further information about the dementia walks please see the information below.

Alasdair Anderson

Chairman, The Friends of Brixham Library

23 July 2018

July Update from the Chairman

A busy end of June 

This last week of June was a busy week for FoBL. On Wednesday evening they met at The Guardhouse Café on Berry Head for an evening with local duo Chris & Paul Woodhouse otherwise known as ‘Folk Inspired’.

Once again, some fantastic food was provided by Alex Foley and his crew. This popular event has become a firm favourite in the FoBL calendar and now in its third year, expectations were well and truly satisfied. As the evening finished the sunset over Berry Head and the surrounding sea was another reminder of the beauty of the area we all call home.

St Mary’s Church Project

Last Friday evening over 50 people gathered together at St Mary’s Church to find out more about the history of the churchyard and some of its inhabitants, the flora and fauna and then went for a guided walk around the inner parish. With insights into the history of the ‘Gillard’ family and the changes around the church of St Mary’s, it was a reminder that evidence of the past is still very much to be seen in our lovely buildings. These really do have their roots or should I say foundations in Saxon times and reflect the changes and gentrification over the years.

Over the last year, every Wednesday and Saturday morning a growing number of volunteers have been researching the gravestones in the churchyard of St Mary’ Church, Higher Brixham. The Friends of Brixham Library through a lottery grant entitled ‘Cow Town, St Mary’s Churchyard Project 1850 – 1900’ have been busy identifying names and dates on over 7,000 headstones, the details of which were lost were lost in the Exeter Blitz during World War II. The results of all this activity is to provide a new record which when completed will be available in due course in St Marys’ Church, Brixham Museum and in Brixham Library along with a free accessible record on the internet. As information and photographs are collated this will provide detailed records of those names identified and about the lives that they lead rather than just a list of names.

The project still has a further year to go. So, if you have an interest in finding out more and wish to help whether it be that you have an interest in your own family history; a general interest in the history of the parish of Higher Brixham or just in the work being undertaken please contact Brixham Library, Market Street, Brixham, TQ5 8EU, tel: 01803 853870 or checkout the projects Facebook page.

A June tradition – Afternoon tea

On Saturday afternoon and two FoBL members kindly offered to provide an afternoon tea in their garden overlooking the town. Set in the heart of Brixham, this oasis of calm and peaceful is hidden from the hustle and bustle below.

Once again, FoBL members turned out for this fund-raising event to help provide some comfortable chairs for library events.

Coming Soon

Forthcoming events in July include an evening bird watch on Ideford Common with local ornithologist Mike Langman; a morning trip on the Brixham Trawler ‘Vigilance’ and at the FoBL AGM, a talk by local historian John Risdon on his recollections of the north of Mull. If you would like to know more about becoming a member of FoBL or about their events please contact Brixham Library, Market Street, Brixham, TQ5 8EU or tel: 01803 853870.

Alasdair Anderson

Chairman, The Friends of Brixham Library


June Update from the Chairman

Coffee Morning

It may be the beginning of the month but already FoBL has been busy. Last Friday morning (1 June) at the ‘First Friday of the Month’ Coffee Morning, as well as serving coffee and cake, a sale of scarves was held raising £167.98 for FoBL funds. With summer holidays already on the horizon, these funds will help to provide materials for the children’s activities being held over the summer holidays. Please ask in the library for further details. Our thanks go to all who helped on the day, provided cakes and to Sue Anderson for running the scarf sale. If there is something you would like to see as a way of raising funds at a future coffee morning do let us know as all ideas are welcome. If you’ve not been before do come along to our next coffee morning on Friday 6 July between 10.00 and 12.00 noon where you will be made very welcome. It’s an opportunity to meet up with friends, make new ones and enjoy a natter over coffee and cake.

Loyalty Card Scheme

We welcome a new participant to the scheme – Denise from ‘Taste’ in Middle Street, Brixham. Denise is offering all FoBL members a 10% discount on all purchases made in the shop whether it be cheese, wine, food or gifts and we sure that there will be something to entice everyone from such a wide range of goods.

We are very sorry to say farewell to ‘Millie & Me’ in King Street, Brixham from the scheme but wish the owners Sophie and James Bower a very happy future in whatever they will be doing now the shop has closed.

Please remember that discounts will only be honoured in participating retailers on production of a current FoBL membership so if you haven’t renewed your membership for the current year please do by visiting Brixham Library for a renewal form. If you would prefer to set up a standing order to make this annual payment of £5.00 you can now do so.

Forthcoming Events

We have several events and activities towards the end of the month and next month. To avoid any disappointment please book a place by visiting the library or telephoning 01803 853870. Events include:


Evening at Berry Head Guardhouse Café with Folk Inspired on Wednesday 27 June between 6.00pm and 9.00pm. This includes a meal (vegetarian option is available) at £10.00 for FoBL members and £12.00 to non-FoBL Members.

Cream Tea in a local members garden, overlooking the heart of the town on Saturday 30 June starting at 3.00pm. Tickets cost £10.00 for FoBL members and £12.00 for non-FoBL members.

Birdwatching with Mike Langman on Wednesday 4 July between 8.00pm and 10.00pm meeting on Ideford Common, Haldon car Park in search of Nightjars and Glow Worms. Pre booking is essential and this activity costs £5.00 to FoBL members and £7.00 to non-FoBL members.

Sailing Trip on the Vigilance on Saturday 14 July between 9.30am and 1.00pm. This trip enables those who have never been to enjoy sailing on Brixham Trawler and those who also wish to help the crew will be able to do so. Numbers are restricted and the trip costs £20.00 to FoBL members and £25.00 to non-FoBL members.

AGM with a talk by local personality John Risdon on Tuesday 17 July starting at 6.15 pm until 8.30pm. This is a free evening with refreshments being made available during the evening.


Alasdair Anderson, Chairman, The Friends of Brixham Library

5 June 2018

Bluebells are Blooming

On Wednesday evening (25.4) a small group from the Friends of Brixham Library lead by Mike Langman, did a walk through Long Wood, near Noss Marina. The path took us through a carpet of bluebells still waiting to show themselves at their best but looking so beautiful under the impressive oak hanging on the side of the Dart Estuary. Mike frequently stopped to point out the many songs of the bird population from robins to blackbirds and black caps to wrens in their ‘dusk chorus’. Of special interest were the Goldcrests and Firecrests, the latter only recently discovered in this local habitat. the group were also entertained to an aerial display from four buzzards as they took advantage of the evening thermal currents.



Libraries Unlimited – a new era for Brixham Library

Bob Clark, Executive Head of Information Services, Torbay Town Council has provided the following update  on the contract with Libraries Unlimited, who are now operationally delivering the Torbay Library service.

Torbay Libraries are entering into an exciting new chapter as Devon-based charity Libraries Unlimited takes to the helm to run all four libraries on behalf of Torbay Council. As of 1 April 2018, Libraries Unlimited is responsible for running the libraries in Torquay, Brixham, Paignton and Churston through a five-year contract with the council.
Torbay Council and Libraries Unlimited have been working closely together over the past few months in the run up to the handover, and library staff from across Torbay become employees of the charity from 1 April 2018. All four libraries across the Bay will remain open with the same opening hours and will be professionally staffed.
Libraries Unlimited were appointed as the preferred provider late in 2017, due to their experience of successfully running Devon Libraries on behalf of Devon County Council, and their national reputation for innovation. They will be bringing their community focused services, digital inclusion, health and wellbeing offering to Torbay Libraries, as well as offering access to a wealth of information and resources.
Libraries Unlimited will continue to work closely with the council to ensure all existing services continue to operate smoothly over the next five years. Over time, the charity aims to implement a more integrated library service that will offer extended services and resources, for both Devon Libraries and Torbay Libraries users.
Libraries Unlimited is committed to making financial savings and ensuring the sustainability of the service. The charity will need to make savings of £800,000 over the duration of the contract, as well as securing additional sources of income and ensuring the libraries are operating as efficiently as possible.
For your information, the telephone numbers for the libraries are remaining unchanged but email addresses have changed. The new email  for Brixham Library is:
To find out more about Libraries Unlimited visit, follow on Twitter @LibrariesUnLtd or on
All information about Torbay Libraries can be found at:

Storm damage at Shoalstone Pool

Shoalstone Pool took a major beating from the high winds and waves of Storm Emma. Railings torn off, damage to the surrounding wall and doors wrenched off their hinges, the kiosk seemed to end up over by the Breakwater Bistro. The damage has been estimated at £20,000 and so there are a number of fundraising events and activities taking place in the town in the hopes that the pool can be fixed and ready to open in May for the summer season. If you would like to donate then please go to the fundraising page at


The Library Coffee Morning is the place to be!!

On the first Friday of every month, The Friends of Brixham Library are now holding a coffee morning. As a regular fund raiser, everyone is welcome between 10.00am and 12.00 noon with coffee or tea being served and cake and biscuits  too. So why not pop your head around the door; arrange to meet up friends or relatives there or perhaps go along to make new friends too. At the same time, it is a wonderful opportunity to look for a book, borrow a CD or DVD for the weekend or just enjoy using the library for a quiet morning browse. Chairman of the Friends, Alasdair Anderson,  said ‘our coffee mornings have been a great success with lots of people turning out to enjoy a natter over a cup of coffee. The library makes a great stop off place if you’re out in town shopping and a great place to arrange to meet people too’. So why don’t you make this a regular date in your diary?

Brixham Bay Walks

The Friends of Brixham Library have agreed to be the sponsoring organisation for the two weekly Brixham walks for ‘Walking for Health’. Both walks are free and it is not necessary to become a Friend of Brixham Library to join either of the walks on a regular basis. Under the new banner of Brixham Bay Walks they will continue to encourage this regular activity both as a social opportunity and as a help and an encouragement on the route back to good and better health. Both walks have been in existence for about 15 years and FoBL’s involvement is to ensure that they continue for the benefit of the people of the Brixham area.